Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 361–378 | Cite as

Approaches to chemical alternatives assessment (CAA) for the substitution of hazardous substances in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

  • Semih Oguzcan
  • Jolita Kruopiene
  • Jolanta Dvarioniene


Six alternatives assessment frameworks have been reviewed for specific features that might affect the implementation of alternatives assessment and cause regrettable substitution. These features are: the assessments included, the assessment flowchart structure, the inclusion of the assessors with limited resources (e.g., SMEs) in terms of resource intensity, the tools and methods included or guided to, and the indicators. The purpose of this review was to point out the existing important differences among the frameworks and also to stress the possibility of future improvements for the application of frameworks in SMEs. In general, it has been determined that, although there are similar features (e.g., hazard assessment methods) among the reviewed frameworks, there are also serious differences that might affect the assessment outcome, such as the use of physicochemical properties, the scope of life cycle thinking, and decision methods. These differences are caused by the exclusion of particular assessments, as well as the differences among the assessment methods used and the flowchart structure of the framework that incorporates these assessments. Ideally, the frameworks should give the same results under the same circumstances. Also, frameworks usually ignore the follow-up stage of the alternatives assessment, which is an important shortcoming of the frameworks. Common approaches, such as the exclusion of assessments or the use of the sequential elimination method seem to be a temporary solution to the existing problem of the implementation of these frameworks by SMEs. Common principles and methods should be in place to be able to minimize those differences among frameworks toward an optimized framework that enables assessors with limited resources to conduct a comprehensive assessment that is necessary to avoid a regrettable substitution.


Chemical alternatives assessment Alternatives assessment framework SMEs Hazardous substance substitution Substitution of hazardous substances Chemical of concern 



This paper is a by-product of research during our work in the LIFE Fit for REACH project (LIFE Fit for REACH LIFE14 ENV/LV/000174).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental EngineeringKaunas University of Technology (KTU)KaunasLithuania

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